tv Capital News Today CSPAN August 16, 2011 11:00pm-2:00am EDT
looks at how underground newspapers influenced political movements in the 1960's. in his book smoking typewriters pieces the fbi began monitoring in 1968 and tried to inhibit their publication. >> i like to welcome you all to city lights bookstore a literary landmark since 1953 here in the city of san francisco.
we are very delighted to have john shearer with us tonight. jongh teaches history at the georgia state university in atlanta and also taught at harvard in the committee on degrees in history and literature and also the undergraduate writing program and is the founder, founding editor of the 60's, the history politics and culture tonight the subject of his new book to smoking typewriters the 60's underground press and the rise of the alternative media in america which is published by oxford university press. it examines the question of how the new left uprising in the 60's emerged in i think what is a dramatic event that had been taking place in the middle east and in her own uprising's here in wisconsin. the book arrives in a timely way to kind examine the role of the new media in the insurrection from the l.a. free press to the berkeley all the way through the revolution and the advent of the books, the democratization of
the 60's culture through the media is explored and offers some insight into the development of the contemporary movement of social change. please join us in welcoming john mcmillan. [applause] >> thank you so much. thanks everyone for coming out. i'm happy to be here. it's nice to see friendly faces and old friends. i never managed to live in san francisco but i visited here for an extended period and almost every time i've been in, i made it a point of coming to city flights so it's nice to be here in this capacity. i appreciate it. originally my plan was to sort of read the first four or five pages of this book and have a more lively and open discussion. i decided not to do that. i did an event like this last week in atlanta and one thing is to actually read the type i have to hold the book about this close to my face and see what looks awkward. i don't know if it is just my eye is deteriorating because i'm getting older or masturbation.
laughter cut plan going to try to do instead is i'm going to talk through the introduction very carefully but first one to pass around you underground newspapers obviously there's a bit about the prospect may be some people aren't as familiar. they're ever they are not that rare again by an underground newspaper for 50 or $20 a day of the week on ebay not so much you can handle them something to pass this around. this is the los angeles free press and widely considered to be the first underground newspaper in the 60's and started running in 1964 and that issues from 1965. what's interesting about that one to me is that in 65 of course still a few years before the rebellion gets out and so that people can't be in what i call the sort of -- there's articles in there about ballet and a reference to the of anbar,
several years before she met john lennon. the advertisements for the cinema and that sort of thing and later the people would be very much associated with hippies on the sunset strip and riots and rock-and-roll and things like this the start about a little bit more intellectually wind and summer of 1967 some tasteful art on the back in and put through this paper you see much more psychedelic oriented some articles and your that champion of kind of politics of confrontation of the police come and just about every large city underground is the pri had a classified ad section and today these same run-of-the-mill with the dating websites and social media and stuff so it may be titillating to some readers in the 60's some are not very promising. this one years as wanted from a girl 18 and up to cook and clean house for a rock band in the
scene. it seeks healthy listee female or couple for passion. this raised an eyebrow nowadays. there's also one that says jesus christ is returning soon, are you ready for the end of the world? [inaudible] this last paper you might remember is from atlanta where i live now and was one of the most distinctive papers on the south. this says 1970's of the headline is hard drugs sac and what they were suggesting is maybe people should use more consciousness expanding drugs and maybe marijuana and analysts cocaine and heroin but you can still see articles on what stocks and the black panthers and what not, and so each of those papers sort of reflect the movement in different periods. i start this book with a headline from the berkeley tried dated from december, 1969 and in
big bold print the headline says stones concert ended, and then in the sort of sub hid line beneath that what journalists call the deck says america up for grabs and it was referring to the concert the rolling stones had in december of 1969. and this was supposed to have been a triumphant affair. the rolling stones appeared with santana and the jefferson airplane and the flying brothers and they had a hard time finding a venue at the last minute so they did it at this speed way and overnight they built a stage. it was only about 3 feet high, and it turned out to be a disaster. you know, thousands of people sort of clamor on top of each other to get close to the stage. someone had the bright idea of hiring the hell's angels motorcycle by to the security and paid them allegedly with a truckload of beer so the hell's angels showed up with pool cues and chains and knives and was a really violent scene so
brutalized the spectators and getting less violent since the rolling stones played a little bit earlier the concert is on for a documentary called give me shelter which are familiar so it's a great movie in fact. he was reluctant to play until the start because he thought it would look better until the stage lights and by that point, by every account by the concertgoers and was a violent upbeat scene, and the rolling stones could only play and it's that starts, there was commotion swirling around them, nick jagger is nervous trying to smooth the crowd dillinger them shelf and the coal and we are all brothers and sisters and no one pays much attention, then the most violent moment happened when an african american teenager named narrative hunter pull out the gun and was being beaten up and pushed around by some of the hell's angels pulled a revolver and held high above his head and in an instant
friend over and plunged a knife between the neck and shoulders and he died there. and they've described the generation shattering event and people in my field make distinctions sometimes between the early 60's and the late 60's their early sixties is thought to be a time of idealism and the beatles and their loved phase and jfk and also associate with the urban early in and riots and charles manson and the weather underground and political violence as well and it's seen as a kind of death knell for the counterculture and what a lot of people don't realize is that that stroke emerged originally in the underground press and the berkeley tribe gave federation coverage to this event and stressed how the disaster --
disasters it had been and the tried journalists were not merely -- they didn't show up purely as journalists or at the concert as participants but they were both above and artisans and observers and in a very familiar style with a kind of hit vernacular that emerged in their own culture and the store to pretentious town and came away feeling deeply concerned at what had happened there and what it all meant and the san francisco examiner covered this event and a completely missed the concert significance and the first they stressed that there had been no violence, the only promise associated was to the traffic headache that it calls on the interstate and later they mentioned that meredith hunter died they missed the fact three other people were killed as well. two of them were run over while camping and another person from
vials of dhaka on drugs in this irrigation canal and then the examiner just fumbled as the story began to unfold to explain why 300,000 people would even want to attend a concert like this in the first place and then when they finally -- finally the guy was december 14th they had a columnist who stressed the season and had been a disaster for the counterculture but the tone was so extra reading that it's hard to imagine younger readers taking it seriously. he said maybe it is wishful thinking that to me that fiasco looked very much like the last gap of the whole hit the drug thing the primitive bet before the mind was of animals the human mob was just another manifestation of the of rocks, drugs and slaughter recalled to which he could only say good riddance. and so it is of the beginning of the book just because i think it
helps to apprehend the powerful appeal to the summer on newspapers for the young readers in the 1960's the tribes reporters lacked any pretense of objects devotee and think about of their own subculture and the examiner by the way which was the flagship of the newspaper chain used a prefabricated template they were invested in describing as a mother sort of what stocks to buy all kind of concert and they got it completely wrong. the underground newspapers start emerging as i say in the mid 60's. some of them pointed out that technically they represent maybe one of the largest and most spontaneous growths in the history of publishing to get in 1965 there were five such newspapers. there was the berkeley barb in the free press, the east village in new york, there's a paper called the fifth estate in detroit and then ironically for me and we went to michigan state the first campus based newspaper
was in lansing, michigan. but towards the end of 1966 the papers started spreading quickly in every single pocket and region of the country and by the end of the 60's we have hundreds me before or 500 newspapers and every city from every campus, every community with the readership that stressed into the millions combined. people sometimes ask how i got interested in the topic. this grew out of my dissertation of columbia. at first i was using these underground newspapers as a source material and i was interested in trying to understand how it was that the 60's rebellion happened and to me it is perplexing that so many young people in the late 60's became so intensely radical that, you know, to the point that they not only thought that the united states, now the country is not living in the wrong direction but rather that needs to be reformed at the core of american society and by 19691 survey showed something like 1 million college-age students
self identified as radicals that is astonishing. historians put forth explanations to account for this, demographics of a lot to do with that and become of age during the unprecedented prosperity and generational potency the sound the uniquely equipped to tackle some of the problems of american public life and when african-americans were facing down tax dogs and fire hoses and what not and to bring about social change. people mentioned the cultural narrow cold war era people are expected to march lockstep in to these and personal barack receipts and circumscribed gender roles and then obviously, the vietnam war that had a foreign radicalizing effect, the
effect that from 1968 and onward with the advent of the satellite television images from the war were translated into people's living rooms and of course the draft was profoundly important. but in addition to this, historians have found it necessary to get internal dynamics within the movement to account for its growth and for how it became so stylized, and until recently in the most widely read but in the 60's was done by people who had lived through the sixties themselves and by some coincidence a lot of the scholars have also been members of students for a space society which was the largest new left group in the period and pioneering work that they did, but they tended to arguably, you know, right about the 60's rely in somewhat on their own idiosyncratic memories and perspective and then also about sts the top of the elite or top-down perspective, so these people have left behind a lot of
archived materials at the leadership level or the national level, but those sources are useful if you're trying to understand how the movement developed at the grass-roots level. and so by looking in the 60's from the perspective of the underground press we can account for all of these the papers were fundamentally community newspapers, so you get a kind of gross grassroots and local perspective and the more widely accessible and anyone who wanted to make an intention on the queen of use rebellion could do this by writing an article for their underground newspaper. the very phrase underground press is a bit of a misnomer. these papers were never technically legal the way for instance in world war ii they were papers that attacked the nazi occupation some finance and the netherlands and what not. those were covert, and these were widely available in sat.
i think the underground press for it because the people who put the speakers together styled themselves as cultural of loss but they could be generally subversive. they attacked the american culture very sharply and the sometimes chanting and the revolutionary overthrow of the united states government and so in some cases they encountered an incredible amount of harassment from the police and the various authorities. although the papers are encapsule letting people point out they are a great example of the practical free enterprise, and so in the 1960's -- untold 1960's, the newspaper had to be set in hot tight so that was a procedure that was costly and difficult, and in the early 60's with the advent of the total of printing and so it was very easy to -- what he would do is to get a picture of what ever you printed onto a sheet into would
be reproduced exactly as it was photographed and so suddenly for just a couple hundred dollars you could print several thousand copies of in a eight or 16 page tabloid and sell them for a dime or 20 cents or whatever it was. in spite of this a lot of these papers were jaundiced to the very ideas of the profit making. so in 1972 someone did a survey that showed that 72% of the papers reported that they made no profit this whatsoever and they were often very high-quality by the professional standards. and to the beach to the economy may be that is an unfair criteria to apply, but i am not really interested in the considerations in this book. an interested in the way the paper socialist into the movement and radicalized people and threw people into the fold, and gave the readers a sense of connection and belonging to the new left. that is the argument that i try to pursue.
the failure of the daily newspapers contributed in a lot of ways to the success of the underground press. throughout much of the 20th century, the large cities tended to have multiple different newspapers. they became valuable properties of people who could afford to buy them and consolidate them could and so the of many papers and began to only have one or two, and then so in a formally diverse newspaper world there was more room for a pingree opinions to flourish, and then by the early 60's, the newspaper said some people thought that they were more bland and consensus based. the corporate structures that undergirded the newspapers were looking for sophisticated professionally trained journalists and so the news by its of a lot of americans change, and i think this helps to explain why one of the reasons why these underground newspapers less attractive to young people. underground journalists plan for themselves a kind of estimate
privilege. the had the sense that only those people who were deeply implicated in the new left rebellion could understand what it was like. you have to be sort of in the drug or protest culture in order to know what is going on. and if you or a salary journalist who worked in the suburbs and somehow just were not quite getting it at some level they could also be fiercely pro michael newspapers, but they sometimes pointed out that in that corner of the market's highly ideological agendas there's a letter and here written by allen ginsberg in 1970 allen ginsberg was a member of the pan american center, and part of the mission was to protect the free-speech rights of the writers i guess everywhere and then he was upset about the harassment of the underground newspapers and so he persuaded the guy named thomas fleming who was the head of the pan american center to release a statement condemning the strikes
of the underground press and this guy apparently was not a fan of the speakers at all. he thought that they were inflammatory but he thought they deserved the free speech protections anyone else deserved. so alan ginsberg wrote a letter and said he was grateful for the statement but he said i would have taken exception were at my place to the adjective inflammatory of wholesale to the less literature outside the context of equally inflammatory audiology displayed in, say, the "reader's digest" with its historic the inflammatory cold war theory or out language about themes or the new york daily news, which editorial proposed atom bomb and china founding 200 million persons at their own estimate as reasonable. or for that route to the commander of "the new york times" whose business as usual reported in the eruption of planetary ecological crisis occasionally in flames my own fantasies of arson. be that as i say -- can be that as it may, merely above routt language is often inflammatory
by the new left embrum rhetoric as with w.c. fields. it was allen ginsberg of 1970. finally in the speaker's they brought people in the movements and they could shore of people's political participation the welcome to the rank and file participation in all aspects of newspaper production l.a. times the engage in the old fashioned muckraking and i try to point to a couple instances where i think these papers outperform establishment journalists at "the new york times" and "washington post" because they were often so visible in the communities they became celebrities in some cases offices double for the meeting spots for the heavy travelers and activists and some very robust enclaves a young person could practically earn a living by selling these newspapers on the street corners and in the valleys and what not, and as a
result of the visibility another theme in the book is about the same they encountered a tremendous amount of harassment and i would point out that the salacious material was commonplace in the newspapers and they were not shy to use the dirty words, the key feature was underground comics and a baseball comics with an "x," c-o-m-i-x fer adult readership aimed at teenage boys began the offensive and have images of sexual mutilation and domination of incest and what not. they were offensive sometimes. in the 50's and the late 70's it became more commonplace in the newspapers, pictures of naked and hafnia and women were commonplace and it's easy to see how they could be troubled by some of this material, but it
was all constitutionally protected and the supreme court was very clear on this and in order to declare legally the scene it has to appeal to the interest and a front of the community standards and utterly without redeeming social value there was a widely read it's hard the violated community standards in every case but there were also in the broader sense always social and political favors they dealt with social and political concerns and that was not the case. i would say obscenity and harassment is the main topic people try to use to stifel these papers. i could not find a single example of the paper that had an affinity connection that was ever upheld, but you could see how this could be distracting the papers and also boasting people for loitering them when they were standing on the street corners selling the papers and what not. sometimes the papers were victims of the vigilante groups
that i mentioned the of someone who firebombed the paper in the san diego and a long series of attacks on the underground papers there and the underground journalist and the part of and the same affiliated with the minute man admitted that he was involved in this and that the help from the peace and the fbi was involved in the underground press and insults to the papers and kept data on the publishers and printers and in san francisco it surfaced where where a lot of the underground papers were getting advertisements from the capitol and what not and suggested the companies be approached and told not to advertise in the underground press and then the bottom dropped out for these papers. they said advertising in many cases was rolling stone magazine, which was interesting. it's not really an undeo commery
oriented. but rolling stone would celebrate the a political elements of the rebellion that was very critical frankly of the new left militance and the underground and the hippies and what not, so they drew a lot of record advertising to come and then frankly the fbi had been seen at a james bond novel. they started the short lived underground newspapers of their own, they were counterfeit newspapers to promote the moderate viewpoint as opposed to the radical ones and creating the chemical foul smelling chemical smell like feces or something worse and the idea was to spread the chemical on the bundles of the newspaper before they were distributed and make them unreadable and at the same time i don't blame there are other reasons for the underground press and the
decentralized collective and anyone who worked for the people have an equal say how the operator should be run and literally that meant that a person could get on the bus and shot in town and say that he's part of the under ground pepper and he would have as much say in the editorial position as some had been very very long time and found them alienating over the long haul sometimes the could be exceedingly kallur stevan by the to be angry and inflammatory and give people a reason to turn their noses at the movement and frankly what of these papers sneered the sexism and of the homophobia that we see and that we saw in the dominant culture in this period and so i give these activists a lot of credit for their moral stance on racism in the vietnam war. by today's cultural pl
fell short in some areas as well so they deprive themselves of talent from the women and gays m and the gay liberation movement started happening in the 60's they gave people a good reason to a new ideological territory so all those reasons halted the decline of the newspapers and then as i talk about this i know it sounds like the book is heavily analytical and i try to get these points and but one of the things i really try to do in this book is also to tell some great stories and so there is a negative component to this book as well. i mean that literally has elements of rock and drugs and sex and violence and i think it should be a best seller for that reason here in the united states. there's some funny characters. there's one guy that is known as an excellent scam artist and he was said to be able to put jay gould to shame the way that he to move money around and read off people. there's sometimes these undergrad newspapers fell into fashion and dispute so there would be conflicts and some of
them as i say became violent and one of the legendary figures in the underground press was also one of the biggest drug dealers in new york and he would smuggle marijuana by the ton into new york for florida. one of the papers in boston was founded by the guy and he was bizarre and mystical and turned his beeper into a unified culture to the point people were not allowed to leave. a lot of the underground press generated the humorous fiasco, there are two suicides in the book and so i just want to mention that there is a story component to the book as well. a lot of times the first thing i will do is look at the index to get a sense of the range of topics that are covered. there are some humanistic sequences of to go to the h's i wrote about her odyssey, jay edgar hoover, and then over you
have got lennon, vladimir and linen john, side by side, and then over on s, you've got, well, you've got sex, the sex pistols and sexism. there's a large range of topics that i explore. it's been in source a few weeks but the publication date was a week or so ago, and i think that it's done well and it has gotten one ugly review from the "wall street journal." but my publicist assures me i have at least one more review to look forward to that is coming and it's going to get a big piece in a high times magazine in the next issue so i'm hoping for better treatment in high times and "the wall street journal" and if anybody wants to lie that was unfair ask me. thank you very much. [applause]
>> can you tell us about "the wall street journal" incident? >> sure. how much time do we have? [laughter] there's different kinds of refuse to be to can get a bad review that is an appreciative of the work you've done and that would be disappointing and you can get a bad review that mischaracterizes what you say that misrepresents your views that say things you don't do and you do things that you do and this was both. by this guy named russell smith, and he is a person actually i've got my you're a lot of his work he was the founder of a couple of venegas three alternative newspapers and i make the distinction against the underground press in the 60's and the alternative weekly that you see in the vending boxes and he claimed infil reviewed by celebrities editorial, decentralized editorial
structures i just criticize him. he says i don't deal with that issue about the role in the fbi seemingly was interested in the rolling stone magazine that they were coming down hard apparently on the underground press newspapers and he said the issue was not explored with me. it specifically explored. i can show you the page numbers. he said i give to the village voice and then he went on to say the village voice was very pioneering and it was influential to the underground press and the alternative press and he managed to become mentioned the dining dan wolfe to was one of the early editors and have a lot editorial hand and gave a lot of writing freedom and the was important. i say other things myself and the books and he didn't say things in the review that i didn't see myself. so i thought it was sleazy. >> [inaudible] >> did the wall street read this stuff? >> the guided tour of the review must have read it but i think if you give someone a bad review that you have to do due diligence. she has more errors in his 800
reva you than i do in the book >> welcome the other thing is to review -- i don't want to dwell on this too much. [laughter] also there's the suggestion that he is hostile to the idea that these papers should be critically analyzed. he thinks that there's too many footnotes, and she thought it was ironic that the papers were so cavalier and what not and that by analyzing them carefully as a scholar but it's a scholarly book in some respects. >> wanted to ask you one question. one of the things that struck me recently was with all of the upset in the middle east. i keep seeing these newscasters that supposedly are airtight people who talk about upsets the mother why it's in the streets, and invariably at some point in their discussion they look at the camera and they say imagine if those things happened in the
united states. and you are an expert on the 60's and my question is don't people remember the 60's? aside from the clich don't kids now learn about history in that period? >> why can that kind of thing been cavalierly said by someone that should know better? >> iso steed on the research in the 60's that it doesn't seem to me people don't know a lot about it, that just might be that my own idiosyncratic perspective. the fact that these papers pay such total suppression from the police and the fbi and everything else it does surprise me that a lot of people that have protected the free-speech rights generally in the press seem to overlook or ignore the weight of these were targeted or her last but i think that it's very large and our culture and politics and i think a lot of political issues today are reflections of how people feel about the 60's. bill clinton said something on these lines. he said if you take a person today and ask them do you think
that there is more harm than good done in the 60's you are more likely to be a conservative republican and if you think on the balance there is more good than harm you are probably a little or a democrat and so i think that that rings true to my own experience and so i do think, you know, a lot of the cultural politics that we face today and the legends in the 60's we fight these battles in the last election in the 2008 election it's fascinating to me to see dillinger is in the newse news every day so i think it looms large in our politics. >> i was wondering if there were any papers now that you are thinking sort of live up to the underground ideal. i have friends at berkeley working on the slingshot and they are trying to do the independent press and i think a lot of papers of the political stance that may be people within that group would rate so i'm
just curious your thoughts on the current press. >> there's a lot more diversity now. the cliche that says the internet connection as their own press in a sense it is easy for people to put across dissenting viewpoints nowadays. ironically even though i am very critical of the way that "the new york times" and the 60's tended to put across the kind of mainstream est feel to acknowlee their own body -- bias there is a place for the daily staffed newspapers today more than ever and so, you know, a paper like "the new york times," they have a publisher and editors who are professionally trained who tried to the best of their ability to, you know, first of all the spending a lot of money covering with bureaus across the world but figured out what is important and give the right
amount of the way to proportioned. so they get it wrong oftentimes i sure they do. but we live in this phenomena people talk about the a epistemological closure or the information consumers where people tend to oftentimes consume the media that their own beliefs and values and what not and i see this a lot. i did an experiment a couple of weeks ago, a little longer than that i guess. if you remember christine o'donnell who ran for the office in delaware, in the mittal of the day one day i was surfing on the web and it came up she didn't understand a thing on the first amendment, she didn't know anything in it for the freedoms protected in it, and she kind of made a fool of herself in this debate. i thought was interesting. and then that and i knew what was going to happen. i went home, spent about two and a half hour slipping back between msnbc and fox, so rachel now, bill o'reilly, keith olberman, sean hannity come and
they showed it over and over again and on fox they didn't mention that it happened. if you only watch fox you wouldn't have known that might that this big news story broke. so i think people are i think too click to find media that consumes that reflects the own subjectivity. so why do things that there is a place for the professionally oriented newspapers. amy. >> john, hello. one of the things that came up to me talking about ideas and the imagined community in the book by benedict anderson in which the sort of national -- [laughter] sorry to go academic on you. the idea of the sort of national collective is in part created by the print culture. so, that thinking of ourselves as the americans haven't because we've read newspapers that call it that and so i am wondering how old decentralized
underground papers helped create a national sense of the movement, the 60's, and then if the common denominators went beyond of rock-and-roll. particularly then what will sense that collective weakness might have had for the left, being a separatist or what not. >> what i described in the centralized and talking about the editorial structure of most underground is kidder's there's an acceptance like a free press actually run by individuals in a kind of hari art kuwait originally. just all of the paper's work in the consideration to the two organizations one was called the liberation there's a big role in the book. what they would do is the of journalists who would cover the defense and send out news packages where they were located first in d.c. and then in massachusetts they would send out these new packages to every other newspaper who subscribe to
the several hundred newspapers and so people were reprinting a lot of the material and this made the underground press a site for the communication and then there was also an organization called the underground press, and what they did as members of the organization simply sent copies and they had no concern about copyrights' and permission to reprint anything you could print whatever you wanted and so that was helpful especially for the smaller papers that were in the smaller cities away from the pageantry and people could get a sense of the common culture that's been created. there's a commonality of the taste that is generated for these papers and these organizations that i mentioned and then was the second part of the question? i make it a vision or most people would say they make the distinction between the
aesthetic culture the people express of the radicalism and of the hedonistic and wanted to create a subculture that, you know, they would have a lot of tunes that dropout and then there is another sort of political wing that is interested in finding the right formula for ending the vietnam war met and what not and then the underground press i think you see that there is more of an overlap or intermingling between the tendencies especially by the late 60's the division between the political people and the cultural people are hardened and you see that in the underground press but you don't see that in a lot of the riding that is been done in the sixties until recently. thanks for asking about a benedict anderson i got this on page 98. haydon white was in existence when we talked at harvard but i found a way to work him in. yes? >> did any of the individual papers or individuals within the papers go on to evolves and go
mainstream or become well known in some other capacity? did de -- >> yes and no. there is one underground paper that has been running consecutively that's called the fifth estate but it's mutated so far from its original vision. in the 80's -- in the 70's use of the rise of i guess what i would call the alternative press, and this is i see it as a kind of second generation radical press. not radical, and sorghum a little, commercially oriented muckraking news sheets. i can't remember the names of the ones in san francisco. these are the papers you see in fees vending boxes, and they tend to be very left wing. they give the writer is a lot of personal freedom to sort of coming to know, go their own way and they allow people to contribute who maybe don't have ted agrees to break into the daily papers. they tend to appeal to young people. they are going after this 18 to 34 demographic read the cover the arts very well. rock-and-roll especially.
cities have some of the kind of i guess some qualities of the underground press. the huge difference is the underground papers were always about movement building. they were staffed and run by people who generally saw themselves as activists first and journalists second and never from alternative papers as may be the reverse of that. but they were very successful in the 80's and 90's. they got to gangbuster earth results, they were profitable enterprises falling on hard times now like a lot of the media is generally. but they played an important role because for a long time they were truly the alternative to the mainstream so they have that kind of iconoclastic appead globally with the internet and the advancement of having the global leadership, do you think
that wikileaks could be considered the press in america or europe? >> not really come i don't think so. i think that he has eight left-wing orientation and if ii would be very frightened or concerned about what she was doing and he's probably right to be nervous from the safety and he is an eccentric to die but he's not about building. there's not a rising social movement today that he is connected with peacekeepers so joined at the head with the new left and the counterculture but i think that what he's doing is interesting and i haven't really made up my mind about it. >> i was just curious if you could say more about hh an if yo most of the people who found these presses and other things? >> you know, i'm lucky that a lot of the new underground
papers have been preserved in the microphone collection. so why spend a lot of time in new york and also in the library in the basement going through these microfilms and in some ways my research was easy, but then i also -- they also discovered a lot of manuscript sources that hadn't been used before some one thing i'm proud as in the book is i have brought a lot of primary sources to light that the scholars haven't attended to and i think it's kind of neat and the manuscript collections and archives across the country and then i did have a significant number of interviews and correspondence of underground press people it's been made because a lot of these beagle have been friendly and helpful and are decided to see their history being told so it's been need to build relationships with these underground press people.
i thought there would be a shot of wind being passed around. [laughter] >> you mentioned about the sexism. now i was in the san francisco berkeley area in '67 and '68, and i remember all of these kids selling of the berkeley barbour in san francisco and you would see these middle-aged guys go back and of course we would all laugh at them. we would share it, what ever come and say we are surviving on the money that we are selling to these guys that he to us and we hate them to the estimate does your book to go into the economic -- basically a lot of the -- we can to the conclusion is that a lot of these
subversive ideas in the paper were being supported simply because of the sex ads or whatever. >> i mentioned that briefly. and what you're saying is exactly correct. especially by the 70's and 80's in the big cities, these randy back page sex ads draw attention from i don't want to say dirty old men that people from the suburbs you probably don't like. [laughter] and what happened is actually several underground press publishers started founding their own apolitical porn magazines. there are examples of that in the 70's. so there is a sense that the papers were losing a little bit more of their arrival relevance or it's hard to draw from because they are becoming more a political in that sense so the observation is from what i've heard from other people as well. >> i know your book is about peepers in the united states. but did you find that there were underground papers like this in
europe as well? >> there were. i don't write about them a lot, but they were much more substantial in the u.s. in a bit of leadership and what not, and i think it's called the international times is the first paper in europe, and they were off on some of the european papers are part of the underground press syndicate so if you were lucky enough to score in the interview with janis joplin it could be printed in a paper in europe. so there were a few of those papers. i just don't write about them all that much except a couple canadian papers. >> thank you very much. >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> i only drink red wine usually but i think i'm going to have a beer tonight. i think i meant to go to silda use with a couple of my friends but you are welcome to come along if you want. thank you so much.
has tarnished its reputation. mr. mcgowan a contributor to "the wall street journal" and former editor for the washington monthly was an agent moderated by st. francis college professor freda lot more than an hour and a half. jolism a >> people like year asgo, twonee years ago talked about journalism is dead. 've gone newspapers were in terrible shape but we've gone through a o stretch here. you probably saw this morning that aol acquired the huntingtot post. what i say? huffington. huntington? >> people call it huffington -- >> acquired huffington post. last thursday or friday, merdoch announced the daily was going to appear only on the ipad as a daily newspaper. a few months ago, the daily beast absorbed news week or it
was the other way around, and we've seen situation in which there's now some original content that occurs only online. i mention two sources. the fiscal times for those of you who want to follow fiscal issues and those who want to follow new york issues a site called the city pragmatist. something exciting has happened. one the good things that happened is the web page of the "new york times" and it had a rocky start, but caught stride in the last six to eight months with a lot of good content. the title of tonight's discussion. is the "new york times" good for democracy? a better question would be on balance is the "new york times" good for democracy, and to that question, we can give yes, but and no, but answers with a lot of variations in between. with that, let me introduce the two speakers.
mike is author of quarterly journal based in washington. [applause] deserve a bit of applause. [applause] he's also the american editor at large for the british guardian where he writes a blog, and he'll give you the address of his blog of the it's too complicated for me. i have it earmarked. he's also a frequent critter to the new york review of books, editor of the american prospect from 2003 to 2006, before that a columnist at a magazine. author of hillary's turn and left for dead. he's appeared in "new york times," harpers, the nation, and the new republic. both of these gentlemen are high-end journalists who have wide range experiences. bill mcgowan is author of only
man is vile, the tragedy of sri lanka which won a prestige award that i neglected to n news, howl correctness corrupted the news. a former editor at the washington monthly, reported for newsweek, bbc, new york times magazine, the "washington post," new republic, and columbia journal review and a variety of others on and offline. he's been a frequented on fox news, msnbc and npr. he's been a media fellow at the social philosophy and policy center and lives in new york city which is why he was almost late today. [applause] our format is simple.
each -- mike will go first -- no, excuse me, bill goes first. bill will go first. in part, this presentation is based on his new book, gray lady down about the new york times. he goes first, mike responds for 0 minutes, we have 15 minutes of rebuttal and sir rebuttal, and then open the floor to you. a strong request, when you ask a question, make it a question, no speeches, quite a few yourself, who you are, are you with an organization in particular that you want to be identified with and then ask a question. let's begin. >> all right, i'd first like to say thank you to fred for organizing this and to frank for lending us this lovely space. it's nice to be back in the burrow of my birth, burrow of my
parent's birth and my brother, a retired police sergeant. nice to see michael who i knew somewhat in the 90s, and so let's get going. i think the best way to start -- i'd like to take you all back on a little trip in time. we're heading back to the year 1972. the u.s. was involved in a devicive and somewhat disappointing military intervention overseas, and there was a culture war at home, red state versus blue state, hippies versus hard hats, or hard hats versus hippy and william f. bucley's national review and in september of 1972, national review published an article about the times with the headline of is it true what they say about the times? it was co-written by john and
patrick, one a former reporter at the new york world telegram, another an assistant at the national review. at that time, they were against the establishment press and the bobs of negativity. richard nixon was limited over the pentagon papers and conservatives everywhere and democrats too were upset by the looming endorsement of george mcgovern. the focus of the national review article charges left leaning bias. conservatives long dismissed the times as a hot bed of liberalism, bias beyond redemption, but the national review asked to what extent was this impression based? it examined five issues that they said fell along a left-right cleft. they were senator james
buckley's 1970 run for his senate seat, the antiballistic failed srtaty volt in 1979, .. appellate judge, and president nickon's decision to mime north vietnam's region. the national review concluded surprisingly that were the new standards of the times more broadly emulated by news magazines and broadcast networks, the nation would be far better informed and more honorably served. this was a tribe butte to the journalism practiced and upheld by abe rosenthal, then editor of the "new york times" and executive editor from 1989 to scene of this accident. it was -- 1996. it was a journalism based on detachment as much as possible, partiality, and he was determined to keep the paper
straight. he once said that it was important to keep a firm right hand on the pillar because the newsroom would naturally drift to the left. he believed there should be no needles in which reporters used their perm political opinions to go after anybody. he believed there should be no to quotes that were unattributed or made somebody look bad that was not fair. he was patriotic and weary of the counterculture and weary of conflicts of interests amongst his reporters. when he found out a woman he hired had an affair with a politician in philadelphia, he fired her and said, and i'll pay deference to the fact this is a catholic institution, i don't care if my reporters bleep the elephants, but if they don't, they can't cover the sir cues.
-- circus. [laughter] let's move forward a little bit. it's 2003. tv comedians are having a field day. david letterman said you know the old slogan of the new york new york, well, there's a new one, they changed it. it's we make it up. in the summer of 2004, daniel, the paper's first public editor or reader's advocate, office created in response to the jason blare scandal. he answered that question in his lead with of course, it is. if you think the times play it down the middle, you are reading the paper with your eyes closed. up deed in october of 2004, a few months after that column, jay of the national review
echoing conservatives wrote a repudiation of that pro-new york times 1972 article advocating going timeless. this is a far cry from the 72 article and the off stated assertion that doing without the times is like going without arms and legs. there's a lot of other controversial issues in 2005 and 2006. there were charges that the times was a treason organization for publishing scoops on the national security agencies electronic surveillance of terrorists and terrorism suspects both at home and abroad. there were demonstrations outside the times that called the new york new times the al-jazeera times. in 2010 we had wikileaks and the dump the state department diplomatic cables. again, there were accusations of
treason, denouncements, prosecutions from officials probably blowing smoke for public assumption. i don't advocate going timeless in the least. i don't think it's treason, but i don't think there's a sense of post-national patriotism is the same as traditional notions of patriotism. we'll get into that later. i certainly p don't think it should be bombed. i read the times as a kid. i was proud early in my career to be published prom innocently in it. i consider the times an important national resource all be it in danger one, and i confess to being a new yorker referring to it as the paper. i wandered down to the newsstand if i was out of town because i
got withdrawal systems, but sadly, those days of that young man and that "new york times" are gone. the generations of the time was considered the gold standard of american journalism, and the institution was considered central to the public discourse and policy dates at the core of our democracy, and our shared civic life, yet i don't think for this generation the times can be called what dwight mcdonald said what it was for his generation, the principle point of contact with the real world nor is it seen as necessary proof of the world's existence, a barometer of its pressure and sanity. indeed, some may not care. some think the times are relevant in the choice, but it's more necessary than ever because much of the new media don't have the resources, money, or talent that the times has or the authority, and that might be changes, nor can they provide the common narrative we need as
a nation in the form of establishing what's true and what's not. these times still might demand the times, but they certainly demand a much better times than we're getting. a lot of people focus on the decline of the times by citing some of the big ticket scandals, financial blunders, and financial problems. i'd rather focus on the every day reporting. i think to be sure the times still can produce impressive journalism and it can serve democracy quite well. it was excellent on the bp oil spill. i think it served democracy quite well by showing some of the diplomatic and strategic blunders of the bush administration in the first couple years of iraq intervention. i think it's been pretty good on the plight of ordinary people during this recession. i don't think it's been
particularly god on obama's solutions to the recession, but i think it's humanized and brought home the suffering and or deal that a lot of people are going through. unfortunately, the tide of left liberal politically correct outer douxy -- orthodoxy caused the paper to drift with social information to that as a partisan cheerleader. the editorial page always followed its own agenda. the problem is the respectives in the editorial page bled over into the news report and are spread between the lines of news reporting. phil said that the times' practices, journalism of verification and i say it practices a journalism that values protection and bias, there's no other word for it created a journalism at odds with its historical mission of reppedderring the news
impartially without fear or favor. it's also created journalism at odds with the liberal democratic values it's long stood for so even if you do support a more partisan times, and there are those that do believe news organizations should take up ideological codulls like that do in europe, but even if you support a more partisan times and the ideologically committed journalists in the room who do so, there's still cause for concern because of the law of unintended consequences, the liberal values that these progressives generally stand for are often very ill-served by the very paper that embodies them or said to embody them. john duey, the great professor, educator, and my philosopher is credited for finding the vital hates of the democracy -- the ability to follow an argument,
grasp the point of view of another, grasp the values of understanding, and abate the alternative purposes of what might be pursued, and yet, i don't think the times measures up do this standard. i think instead of expanding the boundaries of understanding, the times narrowed them. i don't think it gives enough sense of the alternative pursuits, and i think in raising the tone of public discourse and make it more intellectually sophisticated, the times journalism often oversimplifies it and in some cases dumbs it down wanting the public faculty for reason to debate. i think that here i'd like to go into a couple of the issues where i think the times faulty journalism and its ideological biases have not enhanced, but impaired our democratic culture, our democratic processes, and democratic policymaking. this material, as fred
mentioned, was taken from my latest book, "gray lady down" and it's the shortest of my books, so by necessity, i have to skim the tree tops here to meet the time limit. if you want deeper detail in the q q&a, feel free, but i'll try to stay out of the weeds. the issues are first of all race and affirmative action. secondly, immigration and diversity. third will be the war on terror. these are the three issues in the book that i think are as presented age are also the three issues that bear on our democratic life in the most important way. if i have time, i'll get into the effect of the times' journalism on the tone of our civil culture, the seed of the democracy and its reflection. trying to raise affirmative action, i lead that chapter with
a story the former executive editor of the times told of being of philadelphia and mississippi in 1966 watching a group of activists singing we shall overcome. he felt it was inappropriate and didn't join in. that sense of personal detachment is a product of the institutional culture drilled into every reporter during the rosenthal years has not endured. when it's race, the times is front and center singing with the choir. an orthodoxy of racial engagement and diversity now governs the personnel policies of the newsroom, but the political sensibility of the coverage. i think we see that in stories that involve historical racism, in justices and atrocities of
the pages. some are news newsworthy. things concerning the trial of emmet till or the retrial of the murder of course is newsworthy, but others seem more to stoke racial guilt, and they seem to be, you know, printed in pursuit of emotional reparations. there's a certain script that the times will report on which involves white oppression and black racial victimization. we see that in the report of profiling. it's a hobby course where they get a hold of some report usually by a liberal think tank and goes to town three to four times in the space of a couple weeks and report there's more black kids being stopped and frisked than white kids in certain neighborhoods. we also have victimology in the coverage of the cay --
katrina catastrophe. this was a hoax committed on a reporter who used a self-described victim of the katrina cay tas trough fee to present herself as a victim of the bureaucratic inertia that had her in a flee bag hotel in queens and she had to go to the hospital, her children all living together with her. in fact, she had never been anywhere near katrina when it struck. she said she was from blux sigh. she didn't have custody of the kids she said she had, and she never went to the hospital, and in fact she was wanted for check fraud. she was arrested shortly after the times piece ran, and shortly after that, the times standard editor issued a memo saying to the reporters we'll have no more
single source story. the reporter essentially took her at her word and never checked any of the public records available to check. we have the awful story of the duke rape case which stewart taylor, a journalist at the national review wrote a great book about calling it a fable of evil rich men running amuck abusing poor black women. it was a story too good to be true, too delicious. he said the times should have a billboard in times square and apologize, but they never did, and there was never an editorial note to readers or anything acknowledges just how bad the times reporting had been, how much it slandered the lacrosse players in question and how much it needed to take intoing the of what it had done. i look at black politicians and their treatment of malcolm x.
when he was assassinated, the times said he was a twisted man turning many gifts to evil purposes and decried his ruthless and fanatical belief in violence, but in 2004 in relation to a hair leal exhibition, it referred to him as a civil rights giant. there's al sharpton -- >> [inaudible] >> al sharpton has more lives than a cat when you think of just what kind of racial arson and agitation this man is responsible for to want to browl the riots and crown heights, and i think one of the worst was his role of the massacre of freddy's market on 125 #th street in harlem where eight people were killed. was that the case? seven or eight people were killed.
sharpton got on the radio and said we will not stand by and allow them, meaning white landlords, in fact, the landlords were black, will not allow him to move this brother so a white can move his business to 125th street. one bright commentator, one of the sharpest pencils in the box, wrote one time that the memory hole into which freddy's disappeared fits the pattern of mr. sharpton's political career. after each major outrage, sharpton draws in the press and referring to the times, and assures them he's really reformed. the first new sharpton complete with new profiles in the new york times magazine and the new yorker. i would mention that after the freddy's massacre, there was a story in the times i remember very vividly with the headline, "sharpton buoyant in the storm."
we have jesse jackson's love child. the double standards there are pretty vivid. i think if ralph reed had fathered a child out of wedlock and used his organization's funds to support her, that would probably be bannered on the front page of the paper much instead jackson's similar transgression and actions were buried on page 27 in a single column. obama -- the times in bed with him since the beginning. they delayed for a year stories about his relationship with the reverend jeremiah wright. abc news had a video of wright and after that a chicago reporter wrote what she should have been writing from the get-go about what wright was all about.
they also allowed obama to get away with minimizing his relationship with the former terrorist, and he was said it was somebody he knew from the neighborhood. they had a relationship over ten years in several different venues and foundations. they were closer. i would like to switch now to immigration and just look at just how much imgracious has been seen as a state of plea. there's real amazing article that said it seems when you look at mass imgages, it's reverted to a policy of mass immigration without ever making a decision to do so. i don't have this in the book, but i did do a paper on it about
the 1965 immigration reform agents lifting the racialistic national origin quotas. at the time both the democratic party and the times said it would not swell the roles of immigrant -- wouldn't change the demographic character of the country nor would there be millions of people lining up. in fact, both have happened. whether the demographic change is good or bad makes no difference to me, but what is important is that this was a huge pivot, a pivotal period -- privatal moment in immigration history, and the times was completely at a loss to understand it. since then, the times followed a very pro-immigration script. this goes particularly in areas like alien criminality. there was one case where the el
salvador gang, ms13, sent an assassin to new york to get an agent who was good of breaking up rings on long island. they got the guy before he was able to go after him, but the times never did the story. one of my immigration activist friends. in washington said what it's going to take for them to pay attention. the beheading of a federal judge? another way they treated immigrations somewhat glibly and without the gravity they really should, the issue of sanctuary cities which came up in the 2008 republican presidential primaries, sanctuary cities being places where immigrants are allowed to live without having to worry about their documents being checked or any kind of ramifications from crimes committed that are not
serious felonies. gail coal lips said sanctuary cities were just a right wing buzz word for freaking out red state voters. next time you hear political rapting about a sanctuary city say isn't that where reeves was trying to get to in "the matrix"? the times has been extremely if not absolutely silent on dual citizenship. give me a minute, and i'll wrap up. these are issues we're facing now with 93 different countries offering that dual citizenship leading to dual loyalties. it's been extremely soft on islamic immigration and doesn't go anywhere near issues of the different customs and values and attitudes that are, i think, profoundly anti-democratic involving the submission of women, female genital
mutilation, involving polygamy, and the issue of honor killings which is an issue around the issue, but you wouldn't know it from the times. i'd also get to the idea that the times has been very soft on the ideological nature of islam in terms of the emaums they featured. they feature them as a moderate voice and authorities knew at the time in san diego he gave harbor to two of the terrorists and two of them could have prayed at the mosque in brooklyn. he's been the major jihaddi propgandist and is on the u.s. hit list. the times invokes demagoguery. when people called into capitol hill against the immigration
vote, their columnist called it that they were just robots during what their party leaders told them to do, and then they invoke the nativism that it's just what is part of our history, this nativism. on the war on terror i'll close by saying that soft on islam approach when it comes to imgracious is projected into the war on terror. the war op terror -- the tools used are seen as more dangerous to american political life than the threat that american jihaddism represents. i think this comes from a set of ideas about the nature of militant islam. it didn't want to admit it. i think the europerps probably -- europeans could probably teach us a lesson on that. there's too much likening of crack down on muslim suspects and those who might give them
suffer to the pom raids that took place in world war i and the entournament of the japanese. these are completely different historical occurrences, but the times tends to lump them all together. in summary, i would say -- i'd like to get into some of what e cant do right now in the rebuttal, but i just want to pose a question. one of thomas jefferson's most famous quips was that he'd rather live in a nation without a government than a nation without newspapers, and i wonder if he was reading the times right now, whether he'd say the same thing. thanks very much. [applause] >> okay? >> yes. well, i'm in a slightly odd
position here i think because i don't work for the "new york times" and i'm paid by the newspaper that is probably in terms of world audience and looking to the future with web overtaking print as it will someday, i work for the paper with the greatest english world competitor. yeah, maybe i should denounce the time and read the guardian. i'm not a spokesman for the paper. i have my criticisms of it. we'll get into some of those. i think bill makes fair criticisms in the book which i read, and, you know, the times has certainly made its share of errors in recent years. i think the, you know, the
duke-lacrosse coverage was bad. no question about that. actually, this is an interesting point too. i don't know many people outside the new york times which defended institutionally, but i don't know many liberals who continue to defend that particular coverage. i think that the times as bill mentioned a story the times did during the campaign if you remember a story aboute had with a female lobbyist, wink, wink implying the things that you think were being implied. i heard the rumors as i'm sure you heard the rumors with advance of that story being published with what the times had and didn't have and so on and so forth. there's no question in my mind based what was on the page, they should not have gone with that story. it didn't seem like a very good judgment to put it politely. certainly they've made some
mistakes. jason blare episode obviously a black eye. i think there's probably something in general to bill's sense of the paper's natural institutional biases. i want to be careful here about how i phrase this, and i think one the reasons i was asked to do this, and by the way, thank you, fred, for asking me and frank and thank you, it's nice to see you, and thanks to st. francis college. i think one of the reasons that i was asked to do this is i am -- well, i'm certainly a liberal, no question about that, and if you read my stuff, you know i'm a liberal, but i'm a critic to some extent of liberalism as well over the years. i have been critical to some extent of multiculturism, identity politics on the left. my first book was -- there it is. just show it. it's an old book now.
i actually -- i don't really agree with 100% of it anymore. >> i played a role on shaping his ideas. >> i'm sure he'll quote me against me in his rebuttal, and that's find. i have been critical of multiculturism from a liberal perspective, that perspective being in a nutshell that when we emphasize differences to such a great extent, we can forget about the things we have in common, and we can lose a sense of a common society, in which we fight for and argue for a common good, and i become in things i've written, not just in that book, butceps in the american prospect, i've become kind of associated with that view, and i've been attacked quite harshly by some on the left who disagree with my views, so i think that's one of the reasons that i'm
here, but i will say that i do disagree with bill about the imperative of diversity and of large institutions deals with diversity and trying to come to terms with it in this united states, in this new york, in this city. it is, after all, the new york times. it's not the, you know, kansas times. bill harkens back to what he calls the golden age of the "new york times" and there's no question that the rosenthal era was a good one for the paper and one which the paper has much to be proud of, and there's much to respect, but i'm respectful of golden ages. upon inspection, they were not that golden for everybody.
i don't want to sound like a politically correct uncle, but some of these things are just true, folks. some of these things are just true. in the great glory days that bill invokes, the fact is that the alk .. times newsroom in those days in 1967 or something, it was 98% men, and it was 98% white. now, all right, that's how it was, but that wasn't appropriate for the world as it changed, as it progressed. it just wasn't appropriate. i don't think anybody could seriously defend that now. the times had to embrace diversity. it had to embrace the idea that it needed to hire more women, more african-americans, la -- latinos, and so on. it had to do this. now, the young solburger
emphasized this above any other value. maybe that was overemphasis or maybe too much of a zealot about it, maybe other values and standards should have got more attention from him. i don't know. on balance, he was certainly right no emphasize this, especially as i said before in this city as multihued as this city is and as diverse this city is. the times had to make this change. i can tell you, and many of you in this audience will remember the metropolitan section of the times back in the 1960ings and 70s didn't bother to cover the
black and latino communities very much at all, and this had to change, and it changed, and the change has come with some downside. all change comes with some downside. nothing in this world is all good or all bad, and there have been some excesses, and there have been mistakes the paper made, but they had to make this change, and on balance it's far better, far better that they make an attempt to cover these communities, not only here in new york, but nationally. i don't believe, you know, you read bill's book, and there's example after example after example after example, and there's like # 00 examples -- 200 examples in the book of egregious things the paper did and you might finish the book and close it and think what a list of horrible sins. well, then, okay, step back and
think for a second. okay, he's talking about 200 stories, something like that over a period of 20 years. twenty years during which the newspaper probably produced 365 editions, 50 by-line stories a day, that's 18,000 stories a year times 20 years,360,000 stories and subtract the business part and other things, but i don't think the idea bill produces is as big as an indictment as he suggests that it is. the times is reflecting changes and arguments and tensions in society that not only the times is grappling with, but many,
many institutions are grappling with and are grappling with, you know, tremendous difficulty. the country's changed. the culture has changed. i think a lot of this change has been for the good. i think most people think that most of this change has been for the good. there are people who think that most of this change has note been for the good. you have a section in the book, bill, where you discuss the times' coverage of gays, and you seem to criticize a story or a series of stories about gay adoption. i don't know. i don't think -- i'm asking this rhetorically, you don't actually have to answer it. i don't think you're on the side of saying gay people are not equipped to be good parents or have the right to be parents. it seemed you were saying that in the book. well, that's a judgment that --
how should a newspaper, how should an objective news column handle that issue? should it give equal wait to both sides of that argument? i think that's a close call. i don't think it's absolutely clear you should give equal weight to both sides of that argument. was the times to give equal wait to bull connor in 1964? well, i don't know, you know. i'm not sure that that's the role of the newspaper. a newspaper has a civic role to play. bill quoted dwight mcdonald. it was a good quote. what was it? the principle point of contact with the real world. >> from his generation represented the principle point of contact with the real world.
>> he was light in the loafers? >> i knew him. he touched the ground with one toe. >> fred, tread on the ground lightly. >> fair enough. >> i think that the times probably was that in those days, but in those days, the times was occupied a much, much larger space in the journalistic universe, in the civic universe than it occupies today, and this is another point i'd make that's not necessarily direct rebuttal of bill, but is a point that i think is very important to keep in mind as we have any discussion about the media in the united states today. there's no more oracle in our media culture. that's long gone.
it's dispersed the power and influence is spread around. fred said, you know, huffington post is worth $315 million. the daily beast bought "newsweek," a two-year-old website bought "newsweek". there's no more walter cronkite who can say in 1958 he went to vietnam, saw it with his own eyes and decided it's an unwinnable war and public opinion in two weeks went from 65% in support of the war to about 40% in support of the war because of one man, 25%. i looked at the numbers, and it's very stark. it's also around the time of the ted offense, but i think we can credit cronkite more than not.
there's no more media culture like that so in a sense, the times is -- i wouldn't say one among many equals because i think it's still obviously the leading newspaper in the united states, but it has to share a lot more -- it has to share the atmosphere, the oxygen with a lot more outlets than it ever used to, and that oxygen is much more contested now, and the whole media landscape is much more embedded now. there was no such thing as a media critic in abe's age, or most of his age editing the paper. critics popped up in the late 1970s and 80s. the times is attacked from the left and the right, nailed by everybody, all of its mistakes
are exposed immediately. i think this is another important change. i don't assume that the times did not make mistakes in the 1950s and 60s. i assume rather that they were not exposed by endless numbers of bloggers and media critics, another point about the so-called golden age. speaking of criticisms of the times frts left; i can promise you that one could write a book, and people have written books like bill's that take the times to task with the liberal side with just as much fervor crieghting as many examples. there's samples in the book of how al reigns, and he quotes me accurately. the editorial page in the
clinton years is an important example. this was not the times being a partisan democratic paper by any stretch of the imagination, folks. liberals were furious at the times. al was on some perm jihad against bigot and ran -- i did a count once, but i did a piece in the nation about this in 2000 -- i think it was late 1999. you can look it up if you want to, but far, far, far more editorials criticizing bill clinton than criticizing ken starr and his tactics. the paper broke the white water story -- >> [inaudible] >> i'll finish in a pho minutes. it kept on clinton pretty hard throughout his time in office. the paper more recently, it broke the elliot spitzer story,
another democrat they didn't go soft op. there's more examples than that. on the subject of the war, it's much more pugent criticism and they publish far more stories basically taking the administration's line through background quotes like the famous judy miller stories about the jews, but there's many, many more, than had ran critical of the administration's arguments for war against iraq. bill cites this too, to his credit, a piece by michael in the new york review of books, so there's many, many criticisms to be made from the left of the new york noshing. what's it add up to in bill
would say if we're attacked like this from both sides, maybe that tells us that we're, you know, if we're messing with both sides, maybe we're doing something right. i'll conclude by saying that i still think on balance whatever its errors, and it's excellent, excellent newspaper. has anybody in the room quit reading the times on principle? okay. all right. okay. we've got -- let the record show out of 80 people here there's about eight hands. all right, well, that's something, but by and large, i don't think anybody quit reading the times after jason blair, i think few people quit reading the times after very many of these things. it's still a great paper. if you're trying to keep up with what's going on in cairo and not
reading the times, you're missing something. their coverage is great. yes, it is excellent. it is very good for democracy. >> thanks, mike. [applause] >> 10-15 minutes now, you know, exchange rebuttal and sir rebuttal. >> yeah, i'd like to ask michael one question, and it involves the issue of double standards at the times. michael wops famously wrote an american prospect blog piece headline of which kellher must go and also suggested arthur sulzburger, j.r., who says one should earn their nick name, he took his from his father, books
reviewed. you were the subject of a very glowing profile in 2006 about young liberals sort of fighting back. meanwhile, i've been blocked out twice in both of my books. the first time, the editor of the book review was add led enough to go on the record of the san fransisco chronicle saying the reason we're not reviewing the book because i'm not sure it's proper to review a book about a newspaper like this that so critical of a newspaper like this. the second time i was promised a review, and then the editor invoked some kind of policy squabble he had with my publisher. i sense it's just to avoid the headaches with his boss. i think we'd have to say that in
terms of ideological double standards and i go in this with the book review and media that the times fawns on left liberal journalists and media and authors and it either ignores or insults those coming from the right. i don't think i'm necessarily coming from the right, but the point of view of good journalism. michael said there's maybe 200 stories i pick out. this was a charge i went through last time with coloring the news, that i was cherry picking. one of the reasons why i decided to pile up example upon example was that i wanted to show that they were representative. i did not do a quantitative study that would determine the recommendation, but i think people got the drift that when you pile these up more and more
that this is the norm rather than the exception. as to this point that the times was at one point during its golden age all male and all white, it's probably true. i agree. there's always problems in nostalgiaizing. i wish i knew who said it, but nostalgia is the rust of memory. was it shakespeare? >> yes. >> thank you, google. [laughter] that being said, i think michael misses my point when i'm critical of diversity. i'm not as critical of diversity as a personnel policy as long as it's within the law. what i'm critical about diversity, two things, and fred used this phrase once, "mandated
diversity" where the state comes in and says you have to have a certain quota, a certain number. i'm more concerned with diversity as an ideological policy where it bleeds out into the news coverage where it translates into a kind of solicit towards minorities translating into a kind of demographic triumph and endorses the politics, the proportionallism set aside quotas, university transmissions and translates into vilifying those trying to roll back affirmative action programs like conner lee in california, prop 200? 209. copper lee was the subject of an extremely insulting and demeaning magazine story that
just of which he wasn't black enough, and he was a self-hating black, and that's why he was leading the effort to roll back affirmative action in california. horrible, horrible story. the effort to raise standards in 1997 was interpreted by bob herbert, columnist at the times, as ethnic cleansing because it was felt minorities would not be able to qualify if open omissions was terminated, and standards were put in place that would make them have to attend either remedial classes or community colleges first, so that's my truck with diversity. the other truck i have with diversity and as a progressive, michael should be concerned about this is the idea of community is very much a
progressive value. it's also a conservative value as well. it cuts both ways. the community value in america doesn't have a red state blue state divide. it has pat bucanan and other successors on the other. it's interesting how robert putnam, the famous sociologist, had been working on a number of years of assessing the impact of diversity on civic engagement and participation. he did not like the results he got. essentially he said that it places with the most diversity in america were those of the
lowest levels of social trust, lowest levels of social engagement. people hunkered down, became couch potatoes and did not go to the local cake sale or join the rotary or knights of columbus, whatever have you. people tend to hunker down to escape the friction that develops in excessively diverse places, yet the times promotes diversity as an aggressive creed, and this is not just diversity as a personnel policy, but diversity as a demographic reality. charles, one of the columnist who says to the tray partyers, you want the country back, but you won't get it. welcome to america, the remix. it's that demographic triumph of diversity and the cult of ethnicity that is not only bad for our democratic life, but it's bad for progressivism
itself, and i could enumerate that, and i hope to write about this more. many progressives dead are actually regressive progressives, and when it comes to -- particularly when it comes to customs and practices dealing with islam. i'd like to say another thing about the gay adoption because i think it borders a little bit on a canard. i'm all for gay marriage. i grew up across the street from a gay couple. george and jim. at that time they had a woman living with them who turned out to be a bag lady they brought up in suburban 1960s for cover. our teachers in the town i grew up in were gay. they were tired, ran up their rainbow jolly roominger flag,
and nobody seemed to care. gay adoption, gay parenting, i don't think the research is affirmative enough yet. that's not to say i think kids should spend time in foster care or go without parenting, but the point -- michael should read it closer, my point is that the research is not as complete as it needs to be, and the stories that have been written about gay parenting and gay adoption are just doggeral, two stories that were impossible to get there and reflected the confusion that the issue generates ..
fata can't remember why that was. >> they sat on the story for a year well what can i say, i did it. they did review my second book about review it unfavorably, so she may be lucky one. in s for the founding a profile, that wasn't really a profile -- ah. well, okay. a was a sidebar but it had my picture in it, that's true it did have my picture in it and i had less gray hair. i saw that recently. but look, i wrote an essay inamp the american prospect talking it
my first remarks about the o comment of the common good. i don't know why they decided to do this have a hypothesis. you want to know for a fact you may be right but the road a piece that talked about what influence my essay was having around washington and that was objectively true. what i wrote was being talked about a lot so a piece about able sidebar. about my record with books isn't very good. what went on to say? just to talk a little bit about the problem of diversity, i see the distinction between newsroom diversity as a policy and diversity as an ideological what ever you said.
i do see that distinction and i guess sometimes to the times hot laps into a different direction on that point. but, we are in a period in this country seaside history where we are having to deeply, deeply contested battles on every front, not just in the pages of "the new york times," but everywhere about diversity as a value, and it does to some extent -- it doesn't leave much room for nuance. i am one who has tried to deal with new ones on this question over the last 15 years or so. hasn't always worked out, you know, the way that i would have liked it to work out.
we are in a historical period where we are fighting this question today and nail every day and i do think that some of the reaction to the obama presidency has to do with these kind of questions. i'm not going to throw dollars of acquisitions of the tea party people about race. i'm not going to sit here and do that. but i do think that there is no question that there are in our media there are representations of the two americas, and they are jury in tensely at odds with each other. this is not all americans, by the week. it's like 30% of americans on this side and 30% on this side and the other 40% are somewhere in the middle, and sort of agreed with both sides here and there and i think this 40 per cent tends to agree more with the progressive side in the conservative side otherwise "the new york times" would be losing
circulation like this and there would have been a value judgment made by the society at large since "the new york times" is failing the country. i don't think that has been made by the citizens of this country i don't think it has been made by the media consumers of this country. "the new york times" stock is in a difficult position in this building and they're having whatever difficulties they had but they are still selling a million whatever copies a day and a lot more copies than say the "the washington times," which is maybe the right-wing equivalent if "the new york times," everything that bill says it is then its opposite number is this paper in the "the washington times," which some of you may not even know exist but it was started by the reverend moon 30 years ago, and it exists because he is willing to lose what ever he loses, $30 million it think, an astonishing amount of money over the years. they've never gotten their
circulation that i'm aware of above 100,000 kalona million. so, conservatives like to let the free market test decide things, the free market is deciding. "the new york times" is a success, the "the washington times" is not. it's underwritten by an extremely wealthy man. >> that's my conclusion. >> there are microphones. if you want to talk to move into the ogle and just tell us who you are, what organization you are connected to and ask a brief question. stand up. >> i'm michael myers, the executive director of the coalition. i want to ask michael during the question of diversity i don't
think you got it, i don't think you got the point. the point is that you can hire minorities and people for the standards of ethical standards so that the complaint about jason player wasn't that he was high because he was black and the editors and people loved what the standards down and then check, didn't treat him as they would treat anybody else who was a journalist because she was black. and second, with respect to the newsroom as bill was talking about in terms of coverage, if you don't cover people you know a lot of the reporters particularly the black reporters -- the black reporters have sent hired with points of view about race and community and they
cover blacks cover blacks and civil rights and they omit and exclude from the paper people who don't agree with them. >> let's gather a few questions and then turned the questions over to yes, you. >> michael white, my question is a lot cognitive dissidence. in the times for whatever it is, wherever it is, ernest and philosophically consistent or is it making the calculated decisions about its financial survival and benefit? and the example i will give you on this is i've had a lot of good intention to the real-estate development and associated politics. and if i go back in time and look at the coverage of eminent domain of these issues or for instance the columbus circle development and i compare it to their coverage of what i think
is a very big story which has to do with the real-estate partner bruce ratner and it takes place after they engaged in buying a building with eminent domain for their new headquarters i don't see consistency. >> can i take that question? okay. you want to answer both of these now? you are getting into some of the contradictions some would say hypocrisy between the values and the times preaches on its editorial page and its behavior as a corporate entity with a bottom line and a wall street profile. aside from that use of eminent domain to the space for its new headquarters such as the executive compensation the times has railed and real about that
and paper and inevitably on its editorial page and inevitably reports surfaced in a news report about it. however, even though corporate governance is one of arthur sulzberger jr.'s hobbyhorses, the times executives are way overcompensated. as a matter of fact there have been movements on the board to suggest they give their bonuses back and they have so that's one thing. and opening up this question to this larger issue of the times finances, michael, you are wrong of the times does not -- is not read by a million people a day any moerenhout into the circulation this quarter bring it down below million for the first time since the mid-80's.
in terms of the market test whether the times his successful or not i do not think that the "the washington times" is the correct doppelganger or comparison. i think the correct comparison as "the wall street journal," which outstripped sales and circulations of the times on a national basis and by the way i would surprise michael goodwin of "the new york post" told me recently that the times is on the red or bought by 200,000 people in new york which really staggered me. i think that they have actually since the golden age, towards the end of that golden age they were faced with huge financial difficulties, white flight and municipal problems of the city were causing in conjunction with
the new literacy where you had college graduates to just didn't read the times anymore. i haven't spent my life in academia. but, they were market testing, running focus groups. i believe a lot of their -- the two sections, thursday and tuesday style section. the expanding the consumer news, news. a lot of their day coverages driven by the demographics of marketing. so, yes, i think that financial concerns deutsch although they wouldn't like to admit that they have to our financial concerns to determine how they write about. >> point to get about "the wall street journal" the reason i mention the ball straight times is that "the new york times" is
what you say shot through its news columns with subject to the end bias i don't think that is "the wall street journal" yet. it's just it's editorial-page but that is the "the washington times" so in that sense it is doubled down to "the new york times" that you described in your book. that's what i meant. michael myers. i take your point. i'm only talking about the second point and ignoring the first point. maybe black reporters have a point of view about a black neighborhood. maybe that's true. white reporters do, too. this gets to one of the core questions about the whole history of diversity and multiculturalism in the country and its key to the whole d date. was the full diversity point of view in america at american
institutions was it some default objective point of view that was sick with a capital c and completely deracinated of any kind of bias at all or was it just a point of view of the man who happened to run that thing back then, and it had its own biases and subject devotees. this is a very important question very hotly debated. i will stop there. >> when i was doing my graduate work on extensively used the new york times. my dissertation was on the city and state relations and "the new york times" coverage over a period of 50 or 60 years was terrific on the subject.
now i want to address you about today, and i'm talking from the standpoint of my piece of diversity. i'm italian, italian american, and i am a roman catholic, and i take both of those very seriously. i am wondering as a reader of "the new york times", whether you think i can trust the integrity and the honesty of the newspaper when it covers subjects such as those relating to my ethnicity and religion reporting on those in a fair and accurate and trustworthy way.
>> why would you think if i said yes? >> aye chollet half italian but it's true why not catholic i am part i italian. i don't read every word of their coverage of those issues. i assume to some extent you're talking about problems with the catholic church and the child abuse things. i can't speak, i won't speak to the particular issues. it's not flashy enough in my mind but bill can do that i'm sure. i would make the point those things apparently did happen. there are certain realities in the world of "the new york times" didn't create. we did go into iraq on the basis we were going to find weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist.
"the new york times" didn't create. the catholic church is having these problems. "the new york times" did not create that reality. >> i grew up with a lot of italians and am dating one. [laughter] so i have to pass on the italian thing. i do think though that in terms of the driver difference in calculus in the newsroom the times hasn't followed through. it doesn't have its representative frattali and reporters in the same way that it's had its representative african-american who are latino. it's not part of the mix. i think they want the white ethnics into one big mass. the catholic thing i will say i won't go as far as bill donohue and say that bill donohue, who is the president or chairman,
executive director of the catholic league who thinks the time is a deeply bigoted newspaper. i won't go as far as the archbishop in saying that but i will say that the times often seems distant from the realities of catholicism. right after my published covering the news, the second wave of the george sex scandal broke, and i went on some radio and tv a lot being asked questions about this and having gone to catholic schools, including a very good catholic high school then archbishop in the white plains now having some of whom were brought up on charges or however you want to put it, knowing some of my
schoolmates who had bad experiences, some of whom actually sued that the narrative carried in the times was different from my own personal experience. donahey puts it rather blunt when he says the catholic church doesn't have it pedophilia problem that has a homosexual problem. first of all i think the use of the term pedophilia to describe that scandal was inaccurate because most of the victims up to 90% were opposed to this and what qualifies as the romans call that. >> [inaudible] excuse me? thank you. you are always good for the zingers. [laughter] so the use of the term pedophilia, and i had an
argument with bill o'reilly about this and of course didn't have much patience for the nuance but it's important because essentially it made these priests who were abusing their authority and power and influence over these kids to be baby molesters as opposed to people who were abusing their power and influence over these kids who were postpubescent, 14, 15, and in one case there was a kid in my high school who ended up suing who claimed he was -- his molestation started when he was 17 and continued until he was a junior at holy cross, and i remembered the first day of going to my high school where in an assembly they said look,
you're 14, and great freshman year, most of your 14, others will be 14 soon, you are men who now responsible for the choices and decisions you make. now that is a generational perspective that's changed much, and maybe it was a smokescreen, but what i'm saying is that i think that the way the times reported that scandal was completely off. >> we want to get a couple more questions and to respect this gentleman here. >> kind of another facet to the diversity question. i think most of us would agree that the times is very much a paper of a particular social class. i know you might call it the golden age. when i was reading the paper in the 1970's and i was seen the ads for boarding schools and summer camps, i knew that wasn't quite where i was at in reality.
and i think the question i have is a question, statement, i would like your response. i feel like the times approached diversity is reflective of the social class. the fact that the have made asia less out of it is reflective of the social background when you see the newsroom was 98% white i think there's a reason why that was. most of us in this room, you know, as you say it is the new york times. most of us in new york live diversity and we work with people and we are related to people of a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds. but in the times environment, that is still a bit exotic and does that affect their approach? >> one more question and then we will go to the gentleman here.
>> [inaudible] >> put the microphone up to your mouth. the question i asked is how can you talk for more of an an hour and not mention the run-up to the iraq invasion with the garbage put out. she had editors. >> excuse me. that's come up repeatedly. you were not paying attention. islamic if i could just add something. the reporting did not bring itself to drive us into iraq. >> israel and the palestinians to respond that is out of the purview of my book a mostly focus on domestic issues. yes? >> brinza mika to this gentleman here, please. former publisher of publishers
weekly. it seems to me that you could list 200 stories that you did like in the times as well as the 200 stories you didn't like. and that on balance you would have a newspaper that makes a mistake and a newspaper that does well. >> you can do that and come back a few years from now, spend as much time as i did and let's see >> i forget the time all my life. >> and the -- >> let me say that having been the publisher of the article i take a real interest or i become a student of anything i read which also includes "the wall street journal." "the wall street journal" since murdoch has taken over, while the certainly still remains
there is considerable leakage in what they are covering and what they are now doing and what they used to do and their golden age has gone well. but i don't see as against the grand notion that it is not good for the democracy. you have listed what seems to me having to address that big grand initio about whether the times is good for dhaka see or not. >> the gentleman here who didn't like the catholic church as if -- >> we want to get a couple more questions than. >> i think it is more the nitpicking. >> let me get a couple more questions and then answer others. anybody else want to ask a question?
>> henry is required to ask a question. >> you didn't ask the question which i think is important and constitutes and that question is it good for the jews? [laughter] but we've spent since we have to nonissues i'm sure they will have interesting answers but we are coming to the end of the evening. so i will give the few minutes to wrap up to give their thoughts and then we will let people go home and get dinner. >> i think we are handing the microphone to other people.
>> i have two quick questions and -- >> and you are? >> i wish we had been entitled to two things. one about philosophy. you asked what the people gave up their times subscriptions. i did as a result of what i thought was disgraceful reporting and commentary regarding the tea party and the congress woman being shot in arizona. the journalism was its worst and i am wondering that takes it over to the rest and reading the editorial pages worth it anymore. second regarding accuracy i have a friend serving in iraq and years ago "the new york times" when the mess was happening reported that there had been an attack which involved in bye
e-mails to with him and he said it never happened. they didn't want to leave the safety of baghdad today got the report and ran with it. i wish i could believe what they say is going on in cairo. but between the editorial page going off the ball and the fact i couldn't trust the mother stories i wondered if the times is any more worthy of being read in any other paper. [applause] petraeus to make a quick question for michael. there seems to be a given. >> who are you, sir? >> my name is gavin. there seems to be given that all races need equal distribution at any new source in order to give a solid picture of what the news is and no one has ever said why. that seems to be an accepted
fact and i don't understand why that is. it seems to me that "the new york times" was white male in the 70's and it was more accurate than it is today since we came up with this agenda where everyone has to be equally represented but to me, reporting sounds like a very esoteric pursuit. i want to look at an event coming use the english language to document it, record it properly, who, what, when, where, why, why does everyone have to do this equally. it seems like insisting -- the performers from the midwest and some single moms. >> why don't you take five minutes to answer this question and the two prior questions. >> to the issue of nitpicking i can say that if you come back if you think you could find something for the same rigorous process of several years, more
power to you. i don't think it will. as to the question of whether someone's estimate or racial identity makes them a better reporter on any given subject i would say there is a question in uncertain stories of access whether it is the identity and the access translates into better reporting is a different story i spent two years in sri lanka reporting on the civil war i spoke when a local languages but i did just as well as anybody would have gone there who happened to be of south asian background. i don't think you need to be of a certain ethnicity or race or color, and that i object to.
i don't mind giving people a break. i don't mind giving the opportunity anyone deserves but i don't think that we should be the reserves for certain races and my experience is it doesn't work. it creates resentment in the newsroom and bad journalism. >> what do you have to say about the question of tucson? >> i have a lot to say about that. i think that it was deeply unfortunate that the times lead the pack in assuming that it was political in nature. paul krugman's blog, january 8, was it? january 9th he blog to something
to the effect of we don't have proof yet, this was political the odds were that it was and there were other journalists who took their cues from that. i'm concerned about the tone of the civic and civil discourse in this country, and i think that the tea party probably has more violent rhetoric, but the liberal and progressive side has its own problem with this and i can quote you right now frank rich who calls americans who wouldn't take on the torture and gitmo good germans to call john ashcroft the best of the mall. paul krugman who committed religious believers islamic extremists, maureen dowd who
equate to the male domination of the catholic church to the taliban and the bush administration that we really are in a theocracy and the arizona shooter and the anti-immigration antiillegal immigration law was meant by linda greenhouse with an image that came out of nazi germany. so i think that the times and the left as a lot to answer for and may be because the internet people get more slashing and attention to it allows you to
make a precise analogy about something the government of nazi germany did it again to get precise analogy and make it stick and then lowercase it's fair game hunt. r. dee very critical piece of him. you know, i would return to the question was -- there you are. i don't think anybody says that there has to be equal members and says 42% of the population of the news room has to be xx1 on balance it is better to make an effort to have this kind of a
newsroom diversity and to represent different ideas of view him when i've been on the and of running a magazine trying to achieve that young lady can you keep part in the first row. to degette to the question of what we are here to answer, democracy and democracy is to be instituted that we to bend on new two and foremost it to do that nurturing the substance his
providing information they want as unbiased way as possible, but inevitably some value judgments about what kind of society they have and want to have have to be made. now any newspaper, "the new york times," the guardian, any so-called straight news outfit, one of the networks has to be very careful about the balancing of those to things win it's legitimate to balance those two things and we want the news organizations to be completely and morally neutral on the questions and of the time we've
been at mcgill of mistakes along those lines and on balance i think that it's trying to do a fair job. >> thank you. bill's book is outside for anyone who would like to purchase it. i would be glad to have the book out there but they are out of -- the magazine is democracy and he has a website. if you go to the guardians of u.k. and go to the comment section the little navigation across the top go to the comment and looker of that page you will find my blog. i have a lot of conservative comments to give it to me so you can join.
american foundation. this is a little less than an hour and a i'd like to welcome you to the w eric the. >> good afternoon. i would like to welcome you to the new americaou foundation is will be a fr great discussion about the landscape. i have worked here as a o'quinn technology initiative manager just found out we have been considering how the changing the on the technological landscape of facts participation in the democracy. the report concluded individuals need three things in a democratic society. relevant incredibleform information, education toith engage with that information and opportunity to be in the
public life of their community. as happened in the 21st century has the biggest debate and engagement of the sec talking about the media landscape and it was long in the making 468 pagesre and it makes it very tightly. but many of the most significant contributions of journalism in then future comes from many perspectives. they have the same title not particularly optimistic. [laughter] "will the last reporter please turn out the lights"n as the coeditors node in the introduction, american inan journalism is in the
existentialve crisis. it goes on to say is it possible to conceive of rule of law not to mention os -- not to mention social justice in emi in solution to daunting problems. in short just about everythingr rides how thea crisis plays out these form thea backdrop for the book then the contributions contain a widet range of scholars in activists. we were invited by victorvi picard who is a research fellow and from new yorkty university to share his thoughts on the book. subsequently we move to a round the table discussion and i had written down and
nikki was at george washington university for several days but she informs me she is not yet to start but almost a professor. thomas frank author -- and the jessica also a fellow at foundationrica from american university and finally former editor and ceo of the freeof press and of looking at those especially good team and the chapter of their. before i start with a little housekeeping the finn did live streamed as well as being recorded for c-span's. everything is on the record from river are releasedl wikileaks comes up with the index system. [laughter] if you are watching remotely
and really have twice the audience in the room, please use that the van door pick up your questions in the ku and day session. of you do, please wait for the microphone to respect the on-line audience.ur so with that i would like to do but should we be as optimistic as your title suggests? cop -- got clap. id a great question i'm afraid my thoughts and be ineep keeping with the pessimism of the title then we've willl rely on the panelists to bring it back up.ns it means a lot to talk todaye as
at the new americar foundation. i have not been here since spring 2009 when i was looking days working here full time as a research fellow. van i look back by know there was something in the air as removing into the new offices. not just a fresh carpet small but optimism of media policy reforms that were possible for us. also at this y time there was talk of theal future ofj journalism as a problem for public policy. if you recall spring 2009 institutionse seemed to be imploding with major papers of the "seattle post" intelligencer going in your jobs and revenue were in precipitouse decline but to use an old cliche, the
crisis as an opportunity to explore structural alternatives to establish a public service model. that is one of the original motives for the book. a lot has changed in the last two years but unfortunately the journalism crisisase is still here the hemorrhaging hasor slowed down for these institutions remains bleak and the conversation should never be just about newspapers but thehe future of journalism but that is where most s reportinge comes from and that newspaper industry that is undergoing the greatest decline. according to the research center come in newsrooms are 30% smaller than in 2000 and little evidence the advertising revenue that once supported these jobs
will ever return but instead to continue to gradually fade away. this suggests the advertising supported journalism or the month -- function that has lasted has come apart. what comes next? that is the core question and we had hoped for a of a public subsidy model but just as d.c. convincing evidence weth are barely maintaining the meager levels of funding and many of the higher the touted alternatives have not been a standout where some have likened to the hail mary pass. it may work for certain markets would doesn't seem to be a systemic six.bu
i watched the new documentary. anybody had a chance to see that? i thought it was well done but i was struck by how much the near times journalists pin their salvation on its success but the recent reports are showing the revenue generated is not coming close to offsetting other losses. other digitalg blst start-ups ae emergingas bid is questionable to how much they arete producing and to give one example, i exchanged e-mails recently and i am sure a lot if you are familiar.lar it is an exemplar for with the internet can produce. i asked how many journalists they were employing and said
they were at employing 14 hoping to expand at 17 pretty soon. 17 on the surface sounds promising but if you juxtapose that with the thousands of jobs that were lost in the last few years, at this a sobering assessment but there are reasons for hope. new experiments continue and there does seem to be ath consensus new models aret required but it ends there. crisis is as much as our rethink about journalism but the crisis itself foraril everything go journalism as a commodity than that dictateso suits existence but if you think of it as a publicce service then you recognize it must be regardless of market support. how we frame the problem leads to different. approaches. there has been compelling pluralism and assumptions
are challenged and that is why we put together this book of 32 essays which i will briefly discuss with my remaining time. we had three basic aims to bring in a focus of the re structural nature is and to organize a debate and advance discussion with french -- fresh proposalsobje and we reprinted classic pieces from 2008 when the run-up to really stages of c the crisis tried to capture the energy -- proposals but i hope we can get into also the implications of the changing media landscape just like those who take
serious the adr that people are getting their information from a fake news like "the daily show" and raises troubling questions about accountability. a number of contributors look at what kinds of content is rushing into the void left by the party of traditional a journalist. we tried to represent diverse views and many we did not advocate. we have some suggesting thatvett works and new media will organically produce an alternative if given time. the editor in chief for reason magazinesin adjust thejo crisis is written by the losers and we're overly alarmist. we deliberately sought the views that did not correspond with our own but like many books resawed as a vehicle to intervene in policy debates and make it clear for the subsidies to
sustain independent mediam per also reminding people are current policies are not inevitable or natural or necessarily ideal. one is to internationalize the problem by showing what other 1/3 doing but e here, both do a great job of showing how little expense also debunks many myths associated with the governmentsu press and we been too. >> the issue shows the exact opposite. >> in addition, putting the crisis and the historicals context is seen as ae combination of a historical
process to see the internet did not simply break the news of years ago. it has been in a slow decline for decades and one argue there it was structural vulnerabilities built into the original design. history also shows us the government has always supported news media. but richard john has uncovered dayha tradition and others said expandas others and lead to after they wrote, less snow and theh roads not taken. >> win the they dependent done for the system. >> this is on a critical juncture which some of the brief to see that democratic approach by a sees some similarities the four key
parts of the media's system they hoped for experiments and more of the interest model susteren to give if not they would trigger a public discussion and likely termination of the broadcast license that it ise inconceivable today. although commissioner cops who spoke here lastek week, and many issues tried to reassert the ideals. the use but dan some cases of the industry but the result of liberal policy makers made nervous of their own conclusions and a fear of sounding too radical.s there is a number ofitiq
parallels we could draw a least with regard to the policy prescriptions and not being in the sink all the today could reflect the it media consensus not the broader public. but a more affirmative role for regulation was possible than and remains today.thonma of the conclusions we draw from this research could be condensed into five points.t i don't to say allee contributors would agree but as follows, first, a journalism produces thes public good is essential to democracy.e second, the advertisingis model has subsidize journalism is no longer viable. and i did it but given what could be seen as a market
failure, policyimis interventions are needed to establish public journalism. international model suggest a legitimate governmental role for supporting the press. that is an overview it makes for a nice gift. >> thank you. >> that was nice to hear. [applause] l >> i'd like the panels to come on the stage. and take their places. thank you for the informative introduction. we only have a stage of a
certain size why will rely on the author's presence to represent their views. [laughter] first, mr. frank, i will turn to you with a question. that is it? >> talk about journalism. you're at iowa like to hear thoughts on how that is working now to in your view. >> the title is the britishbrig national and them but
instead they're wonderful andh bright and frenetic and the bills in question referred to content. but they have figured out a way to producet journalismly, says it is really, really thosee hundreds of topics to write a story and then they turned in 300 words and what makes a wonderful is they pay thevery risers very, very little. 1 that would be very generouso and the dark and the $50 per
story and the copy this on average getting $15 per storey if this giving $2.50 for every story that they grip parker you have to do adou bunch per day in order to make a living but people and assist it can be done in could earn a living thisst way. just.gn >> bid doing it with a computer program that lookst for what people are searching for then will they combine it with another at w factor what would they pay to associate themselves with
a given topic? them to asia some things will be more desirable than the. >> those things don't get rich and about. >> but that is what makes it so wonderful. i don't think any wno of them are publicly traded? >> there has been some activity. one was sold and they do have some value and usually is a model that can work.t who does it work for? i was intrigued deprive the cover when i was retained the story they have a great image of the hamster in the endless wheel and that is the future journalism theyjour said. all of us on a hamster
wheel. i thought of those and who benz? >> but since the a guy who owns the hamster farm. i have another idea. >> before we get too optimistic. [laughter] see me later. nikki, you are coming from a different perspective and your chapter is explorer's the way. and also in the more expansive vision and in particular i suppose those who would be paid $0
contributing. >> how many people in this room who knows what it means prick the we have this special crowd. when i asked my friends who don't care what i do of the time, they don't know what remains. but people who gives random acts of should knows them. >> it could have been taken by a random person.. great moments of historya that have been tossed and handed to the newspaper.he letters to the editor. psittacine journalists have been very active with theve advice column.
mr. lewis has been around a long time but the real question is put to redo to get some news out there?ike gaap but to get new content out. what i have problem with this content that people would one citizens that is very much in the content that you keep a in to put it i'd like to think about journalism and think about the things that could be but is not right now. >> a quick question with the
context of where the network confinement perhaps you can talk to us with that background to say we have good demand and future. >> but tell us more about the context. >> the chapter from the buck and excerpt that the roach but we wrote it about the new cycle 2004 through 2008 caingon around the media to jump-start innovation and
new ways to operate in the end summer genoa's some projects to view those says a larger strategic campaign. part of what we look at and what we encourage journalists to dobs is what -- which has been. >> is complicated debate that is happening between generalists and as citizens citizens, cheap labor, ambassadors and activist, it depends what you'ree trying to do with your journalism and how we
as the media historian the role of the audience can play. >> there has always been potential for the audience to be more of a media producer and some consumer. sometimespra es with the internu there is a long tradition oft psat to and to bring that back i had done research john but at that point* it was understood that those few who who were creating theirir own media with policies of th fe above but to focus on media policy reform was unable in new ways theen